The 2017 bridge during construction, with the current crossing in the foreground.
This year, Graduate Engineer, Martin McGuinness will be one of 10 engineers that have the opportunity to travel to the Nyaruguru District in Rwanda to build a suspended footbridge, in collaboration with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Queens University Belfast and several engineering companies from Northern Ireland, led by Bridges to Prosperity.
Bridges to Prosperity envisions a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists. Their programs provide access to healthcare, education and markets by teaching communities how to build footbridges over impassable rivers, in partnership with organizations and professionals like RPS Group.
Martin had this to say about the project, “Bridges to Prosperity have built over 200 bridges across the world. However, there are five countries in which Bridges to Prosperity have country programs. The area that I am travelling to in Nyaruguru District, have permanent program managers, engineers and trained masons to enable them to work with local governments to maximise the impact of the bridges built.”
The main project will involve the team constructing a 45 span suspension footbridge spanning the Giswi River. The bridge will make it possible for more than 6000 residents of the Mutovu community to safely reach essential services - including food stalls, a hospital and two schools - all year round, especially during the rainy season when the river floods and becomes impassable.
Martin went on the say “It’s fantastic to have been selected to represent RPS Group for this upcoming project, and I am grateful for the experience that I will gain from a project like this. I will be one of ten engineers from business across Northern Ireland to help with the bridge construction.”
Managing Director Michael Shaw had this to say “We are delighted to be part of Bridges to Prosperity with the ICE in 2018 and to have offered the opportunity to Martin. We know that he will be an active member of the team and goes with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the project, but more importantly, to make a difference to the people of the Mutovu community.”
Michael added “On Martin’s return we hope that he will share his story with the wider RPS Graduate Engineering Group as this is a valuable insight into Communication, Collaboration and Engineering.”
As part of the project, Martin will be undertaking several fundraising efforts and raising the profile of engineering in local press.